High school students from around the United States were shocked this week when a group of middle school students managed to swoop in and claim victory at the National High School Chess Championships. The middle school aged children, typically 13-years-old, consisted of an 18-member team from Brooklyn’s IS 318 Eugenia Maria de Hostos.
Coming into the tournament the underdogs were unlikely potential champions but their coach pointed out that they have so many wins under their belt that he has lost count. The junior high also has two 13-year-old players who are globally ranked as chess masters.
According to the New York Times the junior high students actually tied for first with a high school team, however the junior high students had taken on tougher opponents and under tournament rules that gave them the win.
Speaking about the unprecedented win for the youngsters the United States Chess Federation’s director said:
“To my knowledge, it has never happened before.”
The underdog story probably doesn’t surprise students and coaches from the school where as part of their education students are able to enroll in chess classes and nearly half of the schools 1,600 students choose to enroll.
In what is likely to be a blow out victory the junior high students will travel next week to the National Junior High Championships where they are favored to take home the first place trophy. Let’s be honest here, the schools next national tournament would be like sending Roger Federer to play against a high school student in a tennis tournament.